When I think about the phrase ‘My Africa’, I am filled with emotions from sadness, to hope to happiness and pride. Africa has been associated with a lot of negative stereotypes that show a picture of a suffering, sadness, poverty, disease, civil war and a whole array of negativity. Yes I do admit we have our fair share of challenges, but it should be noted that these are not unique to Africa, and that every continent on the planet has the same challenges. My Africa is a rich continent; a place bursting and overflowing with diversity, color and life, land where over a thousand different languages and cultures are found. Each country has its own unique identity. Africa in itself runs the world, with a vast array of precious minerals that run world’s economies, industries and technological advances.
This is the reason why I yearned to join the Young African Leadership Initiative program (YALI); a place where I can get to sharpen my skills, expand my knowledge as well as network base. It has been an amazing month getting to meet wonderful people from 12 different nationalities across eastern and Central Africa. Getting to interact with and learn different amazing cultures and nations. It has been a growth process, getting to do things outside my comfort zone and learning the benefits of taking chances. Being moulded into an impactful leader through the laerdership skills bit and teambuilding exercises.
I now feel like I am now empowered and enlightened on how to better serve and empower my community through environmental conservation and sustainable living. I’ve learnt to change my mindset and be open to think outside the conventional and I have been exposed to highly impactful literature. Through the weeks I have been exposed to different insights and perspective and now believe in having a global mindset in everything that you do.
This has all been crowned by the amazing experience I had yesterday. We visited Kibera Primary School for a mentorship and painting activity. We met the most talented and jovial kids full of dreams and hopes for a better future. They all had big dreams and hopes for the future, yearned for knowledge and opportunities; they were in class six and seven. Through the mentorship program we got to understand their struggles, their thoughts and what careers they want to undertake. It got me to a realization that; leadership is in everyone and should be cultivated at an early age. Also there is a need for Environmental education in schools right from primary school.
This experience further reinforced my belief and dream for a better Africa, one that focuses on collaboration rather than conflicts, one in which a child an access education and have the right to be what he/she wants to be. I dream of an Africa that is environmentally conscious and that is not only developed and independent but that is sustainably developed; an Africa that realizes wise use of its vast resources